A NEW DAWN

By: Teddie Jean

PROLOGUE

This is what I always wanted—an eternal life with the one and only man that I loved.

I looked down at the huge, sparkling blue diamond on the third finger of my left hand. A smile spread happily across my lips. I rested my hand on the table, momentarily startled by the paleness of my skin. It nearly matched the whiteness of the table-cloth underneath it. But that was nothing. Far more startling were my fingernails. So sharp and shiny red. Blood red. Something disturbed me about it, causing me to turn my eyes away and look up for the first time.

Before me, the long white table stretched on and on decorated with fancy dishes and silverware. Beautiful candles lit the darkness surrounding the rest of the room. An elaborate bouquet of beautiful flowers rested at the center of the table, surrounded by a large covered-up silver dish, which must have hid the main entrée.

This was by far the most beautiful dinner table I had ever seen.

"All for you, my love."

The words danced in my ears. Finally, I looked at him. Truly the most gorgeous sight I had ever seen. Piercing black eyes on a sculpted, pale-face, with thick, shiny hair falling around them. Deceptively soft-looking lips, curved into a sensuous smile.

"Edward." I felt the name lovingly roll off my tongue.

Something in his dark eyes sparkled as I said his name. This alone set an indescribable feeling of bliss through me.

"What is all of this?" I said, waving my hands over the table, indicating the fancy dinner setup.

As I did so, something registered in my mind. I caught sight of the bracelet on my arm, with two charms attached to it. A crystal heart and a wooden wolf.

By trick of the candlelight, I thought the legs of the wolf had moved. I stared at it for a moment, yet it remained still. I was reminded that I was in the middle of something. I turned my attention back to Edward.

His dark eyes were still locked on me. I suppressed a shudder, becoming overly aware of what dark eyes meant for Edward-he was hungry.

He smiled at me.

I knew it was silly to be afraid. This was the love of my life. He would never hurt me despite the fact that my blood smelled the sweetest to him—the taste of it being the finest delicacy to a starving man. He had learned to suppress his yearning. He hadn't dined on human blood in decades due to the training of Carlisle. And due to his love for me, I was off limits.

"What is all of this?" I asked again, looking at the dishes on the table. "You don't eat."

Edward continued smiling, his teeth sharp and bright. Finally, he spoke. "We don't eat, but do we not have other needs, Bella?"

The word 'we' rang through my ears. He had said 'we' twice. The full realization of the implication behind his words hit me with such a punch that it could have knocked the wind right out of my body…

That is, if there had been any air in my body to begin with. I became suddenly aware that no breath was entering or leaving my lungs. I was not breathing. I didn't need to.

We had other needs.

My throat felt tight and to my horror, it began to burn and ache to the point that it was unbearable. I grabbed my own throat, vaguely registering that I felt cold to my own touch.

Edward leaned forward from his end of the table. His expression was sincere as he spoke to me. "I'll help the pain go away," he said.

With a wave of his hand, the tops of the dishes flew off and our wine glasses filled.

I gasped in shock.

A part of me wondered why I had not picked up on the fact that though we were sitting in front of what looked like a fine and fancy dinner, the smell of food had been conspicuously absent. Instead, there was a putrid odor. It was metallic and salty and sickening. Yet, my mouth was watering. My eyes, however, were appalled.

The dishes contained dead animal carcasses. Baby chickens. Dead rats and squirrels. Flies buzzed around, surrounding the dead creatures.

At the center of the table, the beautiful and dead head of a doe lie on a silver platter. Its big black eyes stared lifelessly at me.

At the other end of the table, Edward picked up his wine glass, filled with bright red liquid.

"To the finer things in life," he said, glass raised in preparation for a toast.

I picked up my own glass of bright red liquid. Blood.

Edward smiled adoringly. Then he drank, draining his glass. As he did so, his eyes became a few shades lighter.

I followed suit. Raising my glass to my lips, I took a big gulp of the liquid, warm and thick on my tongue. I swallowed.

My mouth enjoyed it, but mere seconds later, either my stomach or brain rejected it. The liquid came back up, splattering out of my mouth and staining the white tablecloth and the fur of the dead rat closest to me.

"It's an acquired taste, Love," said Edward. "You're body would prefer human, but this will have to do."

He picked up a rat and bit into it, sucking the newly dead animal of the blood still inside. When he finished, he smiled encouragingly at me, grey furs stuck between his teeth. My stomach lurched.

"Please, try some," he said.

I reached for my glass again, but my hand stopped halfway there.

I couldn't do it.

The wooden wolf on my bracelet moved. Its legs going moved rapidly, as if it were running. I felt the overwhelming desire to run, just like that wolf.

Edward's eyes were gold and shiny now as he continued to encourage me to join him in eating.

"Bella?"

A voice called out to me and it wasn't Edward's.

My head turned, as I caught sight of a window suddenly appearing on the wall next to me. There was a face in that window. Pretty brown skin and large brown eyes, black hair flowing in the wind…

Jacob.

He wore an expression of absolute disgust. I had seen that expression before, directed at Edward and Rosalie—but never ever directed at me. This time though, it was meant for me and me alone and I absolutely, positively hated it.

"Jacob!" I called.

But it was too late. Jacob was vanishing.

The tablecloth was now thoroughly soaked with blood.

Edward's gold eyes held mine.

"BELLA!" someone screamed. I heard a voice, but Edward's mouth hadn't moved.